Imagine this scenario: You just received a sexual harassment complaint about your company’s top sales performer.
What do you do?
Well, the law requires that you, as the employer, conduct an investigation and, if necessary, take prompt corrective action to remedy the situation — which may in some circumstances be termination.
But this is the real world and there will no doubt be push back from top leadership in the company to take a "closer look" at the situation. Certainly, each matter can and should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, however, if rules have been broken and the situation warrants termination, then termination it must be.
And life at the company will adapt, and perhaps even thrive under the changed environment.
The University of Connecticut football team was faced was similar circumstances earlier this year as the talented starting quarterback was caught violating the drug policies at school when he failed his third drug test. Ultimately, he was dismissed from the football team. UConn lost its next game and its season looked lost.
But something unexpected happened. The third-string quarterback began rallying the team (along with a courageous kicker and pretty good running back). Over the weekend, they capped a five-game winning streak to earn their first BCS-bowl bid — unprecedented in the school’s (short) football history. They’re going to the Fiesta Bowl and playing on New Year’s Day — a huge step forward for the football program.
Ultimately, rules are rules. You might bend them at times, but ultimately, you can’t break them. Even if your top performer violates them, the rules must get applied.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be even better off for it.